Showing posts with label Pop Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pop Art. Show all posts

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mr. Brainwash - 'Life is Beautiful' Art Exhibition, (20/10/2012)

Also published in Brunel University's Le Nurb. Find it here

Serendipity is a great word which I don't often get to use. However when my friend Jon and I accidentally stumbled upon this exhibition in High Holborn I think my opportunity finally arose. Wow. Just wow.

Theirry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, was someone I had only ever briefly heard of before Saturday. Since 2008, his 'Life is Beautiful' exhibition has captured the hearts and imaginations of many internationally. His idiosyncratic but refreshing touch to urban pop art attracted as many as 30,000 to his first exhibition on Sunset Boulevard, an event that seemed to not expect such recognition1. Again, Guetta appeared to have under-estimated his limits and, to my fortune, his exhibition in central London was re-opened on the 12th October after its first successful launch in the UK during the London Olympics.

Guetta once again has taken over the vast ground floor of a former multi-storey Royal Mail postal depot, cleverly and strategically placing his pieces in a style of his own in the very rustic location. The Zone 1 venue, considering its aforementioned previous owners, gave a real theme of quintessential 'Britishness' but nonetheless Guetta still cleverly ties in and revives much of American sixties pop art with multiple homages to Warhol. But it wasn't just the inside that Guetta seems to have captured; he's embraced the surroundings and outer walls of his lugubrious host, continuing his work onto the nearby streets. This is, for one, I suppose to draw people in; but also I feel it's to really extend his art outside of his official display thus bringing home the true values of freedom of expression and that art is a free and public enjoyment, not one that is costly and locked away.

Topically, my experience with this building didn't begin with this exhibition. Two years ago upon this forthcoming weekend one of the biggest illegal raves of the noughties decade was held here. Titled 'Scumoween', the rave is an annual event which is held in a different abandoned building space each year around London, generally on the outskirts. In 2010, thousands attended this particular rave including myself and friends for an experience that no official or legal club can replicate. It is sad to say that the publicity of the event was rather negative, (considering some confrontation with the police and its very central location), however this was unfortunately a rowdy and unwelcome minority that tarred us all with the same brush. Walking around the same building space nearly two years later was rather nostalgic. Upon discussing this event with one of the exhibition representatives on Saturday I found that much of the remnants of the party were still left on the building's other floors and he also told an interesting story of how the rave organisers were cleverly able to originally occupy the building and compromise its security.

Notice the difference?
I used the very same entrance for both events2

So it seems that Holborn is the home to a rather cult building. There's that saying "if walls could talk..." but, for me, having had the lucky oppurtunity to have attended both of these significant events in modern London culture, I daresay I wouldn't have much to ask them.

1 Who Is Mr Brainwash? ,, (Accessed; 22/10/2012)
2Photo courtesy of James West Photography;
3Thanks to Jon Line also for supplying many of these photos and for what was a cracking day.